Oakland Tours & Attractions

With all that Oakland has to offer, visiting this vibrant city should never have a dull moment. Jack London Square features some of the best dining, shopping, live music and nightlife in the Bay Area, including the famous Heinhold's First and Last Chance Saloon, survivor of the "Big One" (the 1906 earthquake); it's leaning tremendously, but still open today. Jack London Square is also home to the world famous Yoshi's Jazz Club while downtown Oakland's theatric claim to fame is the art deco grandeur of the Paramount Theater. From picturesque parks along the East Oakland foothills and the wonderment of the Chabot Space Center to the bustle of Chinatown, don't miss any chance to explore all of this cultural hub in the East Bay.
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Chabot Space and Science Center

10000 Skyline Blvd., Oakland, CA; Tel. 510. 336.7300
Oakland's gateway to the wonders of the universe is an 86,000-square-foot sci-fi playland operating one of the largest public telescopes in the United States, a space flight simulator, the Megadome theatre, and a 250-seat Plantarium. The closest thing to NASA in Oakland, Chabot hosts expert astronomers and hands-on space and science exhibits year round.

Children's Fairyland

699 Bellevue Ave., Oakland, CA; Tel. 510.452.2259
Folklore and fable come to life at downtown Oakland's magical 10 acre park, where children can create, imagine, play, and learn. With colorful exhibits, fanciful rides, and hands-on crafts, Oakland's Fairyland is the place where families with young children can relax and enjoy their stay.

Chinatown

Between Broadway, Alice, 13th, and 7th Sts., Oakland, CA
Enjoy Oakland's thriving Asian cultural enclave. The 15 square blocks hustle and bustle with shops, street markets, and a wide panorama of casual and fine Asian cuisine. Be sure to check out the Pacific Renaissance Plaza and stop by the nearby Oakland Asian Cultural Center. Every September, Chinatown's Chamber of Commerce puts on a block party and hosts the largest Asian festival in the Bay Area.

Gondola Servizio

568 Bellevue Ave., Oakland, CA; Tel. 510.663.6603
Oakland's Lake Merritt is alive with the amorous sights and sounds of Italy. Take a cruise on an authentic hand-made gondola, once reserved for Venetian royals, and relax to the affectionate crooning of a real-life gondolier.

Heinhold's First and Last Chance Saloon

56 Jack London Square, Oakland CA: Tel. 510.839.6761
This is that bar with the slanted floor that you've heard about. A small shack with three tables and a ceilingful of nautical and pioneer tchotchkes, this landmark watering hole is the last bastion of Old World charm left in the Barnes & Nobled open-air mall that is the new Jack London Square. Armed with a stockpile of spiced green beans for the bloody marys, the bartenders are always friendly, and yes, the floor literally slants downward at about a 30-degree angle. (TB)

Jack London Square

Broadway and Embarcadero, Oakland, CA; Tel. 510.814.6000
Oakland's revamped waterfront arts and entertainment district has dining, shopping, historic pubs, live music, and serene perches for seagull-watching. Catch local and national blues and jazz acts, a ferry ride under the Bay Bridge, a movie, or just take a walk along the perpetually sunny Boardwalk.

Joaquin Miller Park/Woodminster Amphitheater

Joaquin Miller Rd, Oakland, CA; Amphitheater Tel. 510.531.9597
Thriving in the Oakland Hills, Joaquin Miller Park is home to one of the only Urban Second Growth redwood groves in existence. Named for the poet and environmentalist who made his home and planted thousands of trees in Oakland's hills, the 500-acre forest boasts miles of trails, sweeping vistas of the entire bay, and equestrian areas. As forest and city rub shoulders, see first-rate musicals every summer at the park's Woodminster Amphitheatre.

Lake Merritt/Lakeside Park

Grand and Bellevue Aves., Oakland, CA; Tel. 510.238.7275
Oakland is home to the largest saltwater lake in the United States, Lake Merritt. With a 122-acre park ringing the lake, and home to gardens, an amusement park, and wildlife, Oakland's statistic-making body of water is a must for walkers, joggers, bikers, sailors, and windsurfers. See also Children's Fairyland and the Rotary Nature Center.

Morcom Amphitheater of Roses

700 Jean St., Oakland, CA; Tel. 510.597.5039
Pack a lunch and let your nose be the guide in Oakland's 8-acre municipal rose garden. Since the 1930s, Oakland's Morcom Amphitheatre has been home to over 6000 immaculately-tended varieties of roses from all over the globe. Smell the roses in full-bloom from May through September.

The Oakland Columbarium

4499 Piedmont Ave., Oakland CA; Tel. 510.654.0123
Host to a challenging series of simultaneous 20th-century music performances every year, the labyrinthine, echoing halls of the Oakland Columbarium house thousands of little glassed-in shelves from floor to cavernous ceiling. Each shelf holds a little bronze urn or book-shaped canister, and each of these in turn holds the ashen remains of family members gone to that great human-heaven in the sky. The Columbarium, with its many mosaic tiled fountains, rounds of gardened greenery and sandy stonework arches, is arguably one of the most serene and lovely places in the Bay Area to wander alone. It's not bad for a daytime date, either--that is, if you're both fans of Harold and Maude. (TB)
LeMans Karting

LeMans Karting

Silicon Valley All Event Facility

45957 Hotchkiss, Fremont CA 94539
866.668.7621
Email LeMans Karting
Roughly thirty miles southbound on Interstate 880 in Fremont California is the East Bay’s largest indoor go karting race track Lemans Karting. From league racing and private instruction to birthday parties and corporate events, Lemans Karting is versatile venue for serious racers and families alike. Drivers 18 or older must has a valid drivers license and ages 13-17 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian and must also possess a valid drivers license or valid Lemans Karting racing license. Reservations required.
Campo di Bocce Livermore

Campo di Bocce

A Real Find for Food and Fun!

175 E. Vineyard Avenue, Livermore CA
925.249.9800
If you're ever looking for something to do in the East Bay area, you might want to check out Campo di Bocce in Livermore. This exciting attraction is an excellent restaurant, a fun bar and a world-class bocce facility all rolled into one. These are the finest bocce courts in the East Bay, and the game is easy to learn, easy to play and fun for folks of every age.

The Paramount Theater

2025 Broadway Ave., Oakland CA; Tel. 510.465.6400
Golden, brassy, one of the best-kept (and best-restored) works of Art Deco architecture is Oakland's Paramount Theater. Designed by Timothy Pflueger, the same man who gave San Francisco the eerie Alhambra and its kitschier cousin, the Castro, it is renowned internationally for its swooping steep balconies and shimmering, Moderne fixtures. Originally built in 1931, it languished late during the Cinemascope boom and hobbled into the 1960s until the Oakland Symphony designated it for resoration 25 years ago. Now a tour of the multi-purpose dance-rep-film-orchestral space shows the high fly-space, the enormous rising curtain mechanism and the backstage catacombs. On the way, the guide may even hip you to a few phantom stories, par for the course in these buildings, however gilded. Ultimately, Oakland's Paramount Theater is the closest thing to Radio City Music Hall the West Coast has got. (SB)

The Parkway Theater

1834 Park Blvd., Oakland CA; Tel. 510.814.2400
The early-'90s trend of "micro-cinemas"--dens like the Casting Couch, where yups and yuppettes could guzzle merlot and (Williams-) Sonomize each other on Italian sofas during Merchant-Ivory flicks--finds an earthy opposition in Oakland's pizza-beer-house wine cinema hall. Reincarnating the spirit of SF's smelly valhalla of second-run, the unmourned Strand (now a XXX-tra funky hole), The Parkway offers wider, weirder film menu than any other Bay Area theater. A moppet in the morning's Iron Giant kids' show may pick up a stick of eye-liner from the previous night's Rocky Horror performance. But risk not, want not--one glance at the strange Parkway calendar is enough to defibrillate a cinemaddict. (SB)
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